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NCQC discusses premium pay

By Staff, 11/23/21 10:24 AM

PRESCOTT – County employees will receive a Christmas bonus this week.

This was decided at a special meeting of the Nevada County Quorum Court Monday night. The court met to discuss giving premium pay to all county employees, along with all elected officials and justices of the peace. Initially, the amount was to be $1.05 for every hour worked. Elected officials were to make sure the time cards reflected the amount of time worked. However, as this couldn’t be done by meeting time, JP Bob Cummins recommended giving employees a bonus that was included in the budget for this year. Full time employees will receive $650 with part timers getting less.

From there the discussion revolved around how much of the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) money should be used to give all county employees premium pay, which, as it was explained, is not a bonus, but pay for time worked during the Covid crisis. Cummins said $1.50 had been looked at, while Nevada County Clerk Julie Oliver brought up the figure of $2 and hour, adding the county needs to be careful and make sure there’s enough left in ARPA money to replace all of the computers.

Overtime pay isn’t calculated into premium pay, but is being considered regular pay. The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office is the department with the most overtime.

Cummins pointed out each employee would get $3,400 at $1.05 an hour, and around $3,600 at $1.50 an hour, with the figures based on a 40-hourĀ  week, though most employees didn’t work a full 40 hours during the worst of Covid. Cummins reminded the court the original idea was to try and get all employees around $3,000, before taxes.

Where premium pay is concerned, vacation and sick time can’t be used toward it, nor can the hours the courthouse was closed, though employees and officials still received full pay. This is only for actual time worked.

JP Brenda Stockton said all of the time sheets have to be the same if there’s a federal audit, and the time sheets can’t be altered. This brought round-about discussion, with County Treasurer Lisa Lowe saying everything is documented.

County Attorney Ben Hale told the court Hempstead County appropriated what it thought was fair, with each department totaling up employee hours. Employees were required to sign an affidavit saying the hours are accurate as this provided an extra layer of protection for the county. He said the ordinance prepared for Hempstead County could be altered and used in Nevada County with the hours put in, but added the department heads and employees need to sign of on them. He pointed out this is a new law and there are no precedents.

Hale said there’s nothing easy about this as the time must be calculated on a per employee basis, including those of elected officials and justices of the peace.

In the end, the court agreed to collect the hours, basing the premium pay on either $1.50 or $2 an hour. The $2 an hour figure would amount to around $4,796 before taxes. Another special called meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Nov. 30 to discuss this again.